Tag: Support

It’s Time the United States End its Saudi Arabian Alliance

Shiam Kannan | United States

The murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is only one more entry in a long list of human rights abuses by the Saudi Arabian Government, which also includes their suppression of religious freedom, sponsorship of terrorism, and complicity in the ongoing humanitarian crisis in Yemen. However, Khashoggi’s murder is significant because it has brought mass attention to Saudi Arabia’s actions, and has given the United States a window through which to exit its relationship with them. Now is the time to utilize this window and end our partnership with the Saudis. Due to the Saudi Government’s involvement in some of the most abhorrent human rights violations present in the modern era, it is imperative that the United States terminate its friendship with Saudi Arabia if it wants to remain a nation looked up to by the rest of the free world.

Unfortunately, President Trump has refused to censure the Saudi government for its actions and has seemingly taken it for its word that the Crown Prince, Mohammed Bin Salman, had nothing to do with the assassination, despite the fact that the CIA has concluded that Salman had indeed ordered the killing. Essentially, Trump’s utilitarian view on foreign affairs has led to his favoring a foreign regime over our own intelligence agencies. President Trump’s cozying up to Saudi Royalty merely punctuates his view of foreign relations as business deals, rather than interactions with moral implications.

However, regardless of the Khashoggi assassination, there are many, many, other reasons why America ought to terminate its alliance with the Saudis, not least of which is the Yemeni Civil War. Over half of all the civilian deaths in Yemen have been due to Saudi airstrikes, and a recent UN report has concluded that the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen has been responsible for recruiting child soldiers, some as young as 8 years old, and even raping civilians. Saudi Arabia indiscriminately conducts bombings throughout Yemen, which have hit targets such as hospitals, funerals, and even refugee camps. And worst of all, Yemen is on its way to experiencing the “world’s worst famine in 100 years” if the Civil War continues. Saudi Arabia, in coordination with the US, is engaging in a blockade of food and supplies to Yemeni civilians. Approximately 12 to 13 million people are at risk of famine in Yemen right now, which could begin as soon as 2 to 3 months from now if the war does not end.

The airstrikes in Yemen are, for the most part, conducted using weapons purchased from the United States. Indeed, Saudi Arabia is America’s number one arms customer, as they give the US billions of dollars in exchange for laser-guided missiles and other destructive technologies. American-made bombs utilized by the Saudis have led to the deaths of many innocent people in Yemen, such as the 40 students on a school bus in Yemen which was bombed by the Saudis earlier this year. Essentially, this means that by selling the Saudis the weapons they want, which they subsequently use to murder Yemeni civilians, the US is just as complicit in their slaughter as the Saudi pilots dropping the armaments. The blood is not merely on Mohammed Bin Salman’s hands, but America’s as well unless it stops providing the Saudi Government with the tools they seek to massacre civilians in Yemen.

Despite all this, then, why is Trump so ardently supportive of the Saudis? One claim he frequently makes is that arms sales to Saudi Arabia boost American jobs in the defense industry. However the American private defense industry, which only accounts for 0.5% of the American labor force, does not rely on Saudi money; rather, its main client is the American military. Only approximately 8,000 workers in the United States make bombs, including the ones sold to Saudi Arabia, and it does not seem like their jobs are dependent on Saudi sales. Nonetheless, even if arms sales to Saudi Arabia are economically beneficial, the benefits are not worth the lives of innocent women and children on America’s conscience.

Another explanation for Trump’s warm relationship with Mohammed Bin Salman is merely the reason why America has been a Saudi ally for over 80 years: oil. Saudi Arabia has a great influence on global oil prices and thus is of great significance to American foreign policy and the US economy. But our addiction to foreign oil has clouded our moral judgment. Khashoggi’s murder should spark a moment of self-reflection at the very least: we should ask ourselves if cheaper gasoline is truly worth the betrayal of every single one of the values we seemingly espouse. We should ask ourselves if cheaper gasoline is worth the assassination of a journalist for exercising his right to a free press. We should ask ourselves if cheaper gasoline is worth the 7,000 civilians killed in Yemen since 2015. And if we reflect deeply enough, we should all be able to realize that the answer is “no.”

America has been regarded as the leader of the free world for the last century for only one reason: our values of liberty, equality, and democracy make us uniquely morally qualified to lead. We cannot maintain this moral authority so long as we remain allies with a government which openly and brazenly shows contempt for the very ideals we stand for. America’s soul should not be sold in exchange for cheap oil. Our ideals are worth more than the extra dollar at the pump, or the extra workers employed at Lockheed Martin. It’s time that we sent a loud-and-clear message to the Saudi Government that its egregious assaults on human rights, dignity, and equality will not be tolerated by the United States. Khashoggi’s murder has given us the perfect opportunity to end this relationship. It is now up to the President and Congress to do it. Let us all hope they make the moral choice.


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The Leonard Peltier Freedom Ride

By Ian Brzeski | United States

On July 28th a group of riders rode out from Mankato, Minnesota, planning to arrive at Coleman prison in Coleman, Florida on September 22nd. Coleman prison is where Leonard Peltier is currently being held on a double life sentence for the murder of two FBI agents. They plan on making many stops along the way and need all the support they can get. Leonard Peltier is believed by many to be wrongfully imprisoned. That’s why Ken Fourcloud, a Crow Creek Sioux Tribe citizen, organized this freedom ride in the hopes of President Trump granting Peltier his release.

Peltier, suffering from serious health issues, is 73 years old and has spent the last 41 years of his life in prison. He has been denied parole a multitude of times and hopes to be set free so he can spend his final moments with his family. It is highly believed that the prosecutors and federal agents:

  • planted his murder weapon as well as other evidence against him.
  • hid evidence that proved his innocence.
  • used torture methods to produce a false testimony out of Peltier.
  • ignored court orders.
  • lied to the jury.

What Happened?

On June 26th, 1975 two federal agents went onto private property on the Pine Ridge Reservation, the Jumping Bull Ranch. The agents did nothing to identify themselves. They were in a normal civilian car, had normal clothes, and didn’t mention to anybody that they were federal agents. All of a sudden, a shootout started for unknown reasons. A family with children were caught in the cross-fire. Fearing for their lives, many of the men on the reservation returned fire.

The two federal agents died in the shooting along with a 30-year-old Native American man who went by the name Joe Stuntz. The investigation of the killings of these two federal agents went into full throttle by the United States government, however, the killing of Joe Stuntz was never investigated. Immediately after the shooting took place, government forces swarmed the area and began harassing the people on the reservation. Forces shot up the Jumping Bull home (not killing anybody, but just shooting at the portraits in the house) and intimidated the people with assault rifles to issue warrantless intrusions on the homes of these individuals.

Manipulation of the media is nothing new by the United States government and it is not new in this case. FBI reports claimed that the agents were set up in an ambush by trained guerilla warfare and even went on to say that one of the agents begged for their lives for the sake of the other agent’s family. More reports stated that the agents were “riddled with bullets.” That statement had to be taken back by the FBI director as many reporters who were digging around figured out that that wasn’t the case at all.

According to the government, the two agents were out to arrest a Native American man, Jimmy Eagle. They claim that the agents saw Eagle drive onto the Jumping Bull Ranch property in a red pick up truck. Coincidentally, members of the American Indian Movement were on the property at that time because they were seeking protection from all the violence on the reservation. Leonard Peltier was one of these members present and became the focus of the whole investigation.

Investigators would take the bits of evidence that they had on Peltier and manipulate it in a way to pin the whole shooting on him. They issued indictments on Peltier and two others who were present on the shooting. They charged Jimmy Eagle but later dropped those charges as prosecutors admitted that Eagle was not on the reservation on the day of the shooting. FBI documents support that the government dismissed charges on Eagle so they can put all their power on nailing Peltier for the shooting. Despite all the individuals who were present at the shooting, nobody received as much scrutiny as Peltier did and nobody else was charged for the killings. It was even made clear that the bullets that killed the agents weren’t even the bullets fired from Peltier’s weapon but it was never presented to the jury.  To learn more about post-trial admissions, click here.

The freedom riders just want to seek justice for Leonard Peltier so he can spend his final moments with his family. They want to raise awareness on this issue and many other issues that are related to this manner. Please go and give them a donation on their GoFundMe page so the riders are able to afford everything they need to complete their journey. To track their progress, go to their Facebook page and give them your support.

“The only thing I am guilty of is struggling for my people.” -Leonard Peltier


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America Focuses On All The Wrong Problems

By Ian Brzeski | United States

Around the world, horrendous atrocities keep happening and people keep turning a blind eye. We focus on the little problems rather than the larger grand scheme of things.

Life in the Unites States is not as bad as it could be. Our problems are far less problematic than those throughout the world. The average low-income American is far better off than King Louis XIV and John Rockefeller ever were. Humanity has progressed tremendously in recent times, yet we still have the audacity to complain about every little thing. We complain about problems that don’t even carry weight compared to other problems such as how:

For God’s sake, there are more pressing concerns than the ones I just listed. People around the globe are dying at the hands of the United States government. Just the other day a Saudi led airstrike, backed by the United States, killed dozens of Yemeni children on a school bus. The airstrike killed kids on their way to school without any warning. This is utterly detestable. Where is the outrage?

People are quick to work themselves up if Trump says something controversial. But how come when the United States backed Saudi government bombs innocent civilians and children in Yemen you barely hear about it? Don’t even say that the death of these children is a result of collateral damage. We should never consider human lives as collateral damage. I’m not saying that the concerns I listed aren’t problematic, but when comparing the problem of the murder of innocent children to the to the “problem” of income inequality in the workforce it’s clear which one should take preference over the other.

When I turn on the news all that anybody can talk about is Donald Trump. It’s either how Trump is awful because of racism or the greatest because our economy is booming. Nobody ever talks about how he’s currently the head of a government that is supporting Saudi Arabia who is practically committing a genocide against Yemen. The United States along with the U.K. is in a coalition with Saudi Arabia which provides them with weapons, fuel, and other forms of support so they can continue to terrorize Yemen.

This is sickening and nobody is doing anything about it. People would rather smear Trump for racist or sexist comments. Give me a break. How is getting Trump impeached for being subjectively a bad person and for kissing up to Putin more important than the human rights violations happening in Yemen? How is any of that more important than the thousands upon thousands of bombs we drop in the Middle East per year, killing loads of innocent lives? I’m sick of people disliking Trump for all of the wrong reasons.

The strategy of “bombing the shit” out of countries is not unique to Trump and it dates back to Harry Truman who is mainly remembered for dropping atomic bombs on Japan, injuring and killing hundreds of thousands of people. Republicans and Democrats have consistently been dropping bombs in other countries since World War II and people aren’t realizing that it happens under both parties. Obama dropped 26,171 bombs in 2016 and has bombed the most countries since World War II. Trump has also been dropping bombs at unprecedented levels. Having a booming economy is never an excuse for these mass murders ever taking place. All of this is absolutely monstrous and it doesn’t seem that people care at all. We keep electing these mass murderers.

People need to wake up and realize that the mainstream politicians simply don’t care. All the recent presidents have been puppets to the establishment and the track record shows.  If people were half as outraged with the establishment and their wrongdoings as they are with their other minuscule problems, maybe we can stop these massacres from taking place.


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